Subhuthi was a disciple of Buddha. He was able to understand the potency of emptiness—the viewpoint that nothing exists except in its relationship of subjectivity and objectivity.
One day, Subhuthi, in a mood of sublime emptiness, was sitting under a tree, when suddenly flowers began to fall on him.
“We are praising you for your discourse on emptiness,” the gods whispered to him.
“But I have not spoken of emptiness,” said Subhuthi.
“You have not spoken of emptiness, we have not heard emptiness,” responded the gods.
“This is true emptiness.” And blossoms showered upon Subhuthi just as tender drops of rain.
Have you ever realized how disturbed our minds are? Try remaining silent for a few minutes. You’ll notice that our mind is like an un-tuned radio attracting all sorts of mental chatter. Not surprising then, when your mind is at unrest, as technical writers, you are bound to commit errors.
When your documents return from an editor’s desk, can you figure out how some errors escaped your discerning eye? All this is due to incessant mental chatter that never allows us to concentrate completely. Being silent is one of the most important aspects of Zen. By being silent, I do not imply ‘refrain from talk’ but a state of complete silence—the silence of mind and body.
Try writing when you are completely silent. Imagine the power of your mind and all its energies, completely tuned to just one activity. Think how accurate and precise this activity would be. Every space and every character would be seen. Every bullet and every paragraph would be formatted.
The first step towards ‘silencing your mind’ is to learn meditation. Let me introduce one of the simplest techniques for meditation. Close your eyes and observe your breath. Do this whenever you are free and you’ll observe your mind immediately calms down, and your breathing becomes slow and natural.
When you are angry or disturbed, your breathing changes. Do this exercise for ten minutes everyday, and you can experience the difference. Remember the best things in life are generally the simplest.